Friday, June 26, 2015

Do You Feel Alone?

One of the most tricky places to be in is to think you are alone.  No one understands, no one knows.  No one cares. No one could possibly be going through this.  Just me.  Alone.

Thankfully, this thinking is not true and I'd like to offer 4 pearls of wisdom you can speak to yourself. You can thrive in a community that comes along side you, suffers with you, and you can know that the universe is not complete without you, just as you are.

I enjoyed teaching this "alone" feeling to high school actors who played the roles of Jojo and Horton in a production of Seussical the Musical.  I had the students write down names of great minds of the past--inventors, visionaries, and people who were famous for something great.  They then had to figure out how each person must have felt proposing his or her idea to others. Like Leonardo da Vinci,  Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell, how must have they felt when someone rejected their ideas or told them they would fail? Students wrote their own list of inventors and came up with their own ideas. They began to understand. Their acting transformed.

Questioning lunacy and daunting sadness, Alone in the Universe takes these quiet struggles to a meeting of good friends.  Press play and read on.

1.  You are not the only one going through this.
Your problem is not unique to you.  The world does not have a vendetta against you and God is not seeking to punish you and force you to tread water in the sea of problems. Although it may feel like it.  In God's amazing creativity, he has designed people around you to build you up.  

The most influential people in the world have been initially rejected, some for their whole lives, for their ideas, stance and dreams.  While rejected by mankind, what if they had given up?

What kinds of feelings would they have to fight through to get back on track with what they actually wanted to accomplish?
2. You can find community.
Each of us have our own sufferings, seen or unseen, and until we start talking about them we will never know this fact.  If you never talk to people transparently, you will not know their struggles, and breed your own discontentment thinking they have a perfect life.

This becomes a vicious cycle and you can be tricked into thinking you are alone.

I find this community by connecting with moms who are intentional in their parenting. It surprises me each time their children have outbursts, potty troubles, teenage hormones, and that other moms get upset.  "Really, you flip out?"   
Yes, I flip out.  
Yes, I need breaks. 
No, I don't always know what to say.  
My kid just tantrum-ed in front of my husband's colleague in the grocery store and an old lady passing said Santa wouldn't bring him toys for Christmas, to which he growled at her and screamed, "I hate you!"
These little lines can be jewels as we start to recognize that no one has "arrived" at the perfect-mom-wonder-woman position.
As one mom shares, others start to share, and soon enough, I have a little network of texters and pray-ers partnering with me.  A week can go by, and the struggle is conquered, in both my friends' lives and my own.

Even more so, my thinking is transformed from dwelling in loneliness into serving and praying for others.  By definition, I find community!
Horton and Jojo found each other, sang candidly about their struggles, and ended up inspiring each other.  Are we not called to do the same?

There are many cyber and physical resources to find people around you.  When in doubt, I recommend starting with your local church and school.  This has been a great starting point for me to get plugged into community when relocating to new areas, where I initially knew nobody.
3.  You can find comfort in "post-euphoria letdown."
There is this terrible letdown that comes after getting up in front of a crowd and performing publicly.  This can be delivering a confident speech, singing, acting, or persuading.  Despite the fact that you just connected with perhaps hundreds of people, the reality is that you then end up going home and to bed like everyone else on the planet.   I can totally sympathize with the desire for partying, late nights, and celebratory debauchery!  After an adrenaline rush, where you are the top and center, there is this tremendous need to keep that feeling going, and as the rush goes away, then letdown comes on.  You are quickly reminded of your basic human needs to eat and sleep, just like everyone else. 
The fantastic ceases and mental blackout is likely.  Similar to bipolar disorder, the temporary mania fades to a temporary depression and possibly, severe loneliness.
If I'm the one in front of the crowd, where did my talent or speaking come from?
Did I give myself personality and public grace at birth? If my mind has shifted from "God spoke through me today" to "I'm freakin' amazing!" I have passed from "honored to serve and humble" to "self sufficient and arrogant."  
 Even then, we have somewhere to turn.
Thankfully,  ". . . we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." Heb 4:15 

He will make our darkness light.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you. Psalm 139:11-12
Sadness, loneliness, regret, and worldly highs can all be taken to the throne of Grace, where Jesus is interceding on your behalf.  A prayer starting point could be: "Lord, thank you for the performance.  Thank you for using me.  Help me rest in assurance that you will continue to grow me and use me as an instrument . . ." and throw in your own heart's values and concerns. 
4. You do not have it the worst of all.
The most glorious example I can find of rejection and world-changing leadership is the rejection of Jesus when he walked the earth and was crucified.  Experiencing ultimate rejection and curse, bearing the hatred and sin of the entire world, He rose from the dead and has become the cornerstone of hope as death was conquered.  We run the world's calendar by his life and all of creation follows his leadership.
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.  Psalm 118:22
This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.  Acts 4:11-12

I can't wait to hear about all you are hoping to do and the greatness you have accomplished after conquering loneliness!  Inspiring others with your testimony will change even more lives.
Share it with me, too, so I can rejoice with you!